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Jalen Hurts Connecting with Brian Johnson on Sidelines, Nick Sirianni on Fridays

Perhaps the reason the Eagles' offense has shown some spark, with 61 points combined in their last two games, have to do with one of the head coach's philosophical pillars
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PHILADELPHIA – It’s been a Friday thing for a while now between Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts and head coach Nick Sirianni.

After everybody leaves the team facility on Friday, Hurts heads to Sirianni’s office where the two chop it up. Usually, conversations don't include football, but life and the one topic that may mean more to them than anything other than family, competition.

“It’s been good,” said Hurts on Wednesday as the Eagles (3-6) prepare to visit the Denver Broncos (5-4) on Sunday (4:25 p.m./CBS). “I guess throughout the course of the year we realized that’s what we need to do.

“It’s something we both embrace. We want to win. One thing I realize is, we kind of realize it about one another, we’re more alike as a competitor than we think. We both may express it in different ways, but coach and I, we want to win.”

It’s the Brian Johnson stuff that is relatively new. The QB coach came out of the booth to be on the sidelines two games ago.

Looking for any sort of reason why the Eagles’ offense has shown some spark in recent weeks, scoring 61 points in their last two games combined, it could lie here - next to the running attack - in the connecting between coach and quarterback and the connecting between Hurts and his longtime family friend.

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Connecting has been one of Sirianni’s five pillars since got the job.

And it’s happening.

“I think you get more comfortable with each other, and you talk more,” said Sirianni. “Jalen and I we talk every single day. And then Fridays he comes in and we just talk about it. Fridays, after everything and everybody leaves, we come in and we just talk about anything other than football.

“So, I just think you grow your relationship, the connection grows, the relationship grows, and everything grows. And as that grows, the communication gets better, the chemistry gets better. I think that's just a part of growing as a football team.”

These coach meeting for Hurts aren’t anything new at previous stops. He met with Alabama coach Nick Saban after games, usually the following day, and, he said, he and Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley spent a lot of time together.

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“Coach Riley, I spent a lot of time with him,” said Hurts. “He was in the room with me kind of like Nick, but I would go in and holler at him before games.”

Then, of course, Hurts grew up with a father who was a high school head coach.

“I got a lot of time with him,” joked Hurts.

Jalen Hurts

Jalen Hurts meets with reporters on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021

Hurts also a strong relationship with Johnson, dating back to when Johnson played high school football with Hurts’ father his head coach.

“I spend a lot of time with him, so, to have him on the field is good for me,” he said.

Sirianni opted to move Johnson out of the booth and onto the field two games ago in order to better facilitate not only communication between position coach and QB, but also between head coach and offensive coordinator, Shane Steichen.

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“Shane and I - really, in between a set, I have to be there with the defense and looking at the defense, and anything that's going on right there, and Shane and I are talking in communication,” said Sirianni. “We adjust things to make it work, the best process. Shane would be spending time with Jalen on the sideline, looking at the pictures, and was, you know -- we weren't able to get to some talks every time, like, if it was a quicker three and out or whatever it was.

“And so, now Brian can look at the pictures with him, Brian can talk to him about things they talked about all week.”

Now, Johnson has the main communication with Hurts, though Sirianni and Steichen can still interject as they feel necessary.

“You have a ton of different people that have their hands on the quarterback, coach Steichen, coach Sirianni, and coach Johnson,” said Hurts. “Everybody’s always o the same page, so we’re all preaching the same things so we can be as efficient as we want to be. I’ll say again that Brian has been very important to me in my time here thus far this year. He’s been good for us.”

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.